By F. B. Pinion
Aiming to supply a accomplished survey of the paintings, poetry and prose of the poet T.S.Eliot (1888-1965), this article could be of particular worth to lecturers of all educational degrees and to college and school scholars at domestic and out of the country.
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Here was a spiritually humble, contrite man ritualizing his acceptance of a higher authority. From adolescence onwards he had become hypersensitively subject to a sense of sin ; perhaps it was a hereditary characteristic. It may have been Calvinist; Religious Commitment and Marriage Breakdown 35 he thought he was of Scottish ancestry. His sin-complex had increased in the post-war years, partly from what he knew of the moral laxity and decadence of the western world, partly from reflecting on his inner rather than outer private life in the light of authors such as Newman, St John of the Cross, English seventeenth-century religious writers, and Pascal.
Late in 1929, after a number of removals, he and Vivienne moved to another flat (68) in Clarence Gate Gardens, near a church where Eliot worshipped daily. Francis Underhill of Liddon House (an Anglican centre for the pastoral care of university students) still acted as his spiritual counsellor, and it Religious Commitment and Marriage Breakdown 39 was on his advice that Eliot started the habit of going into retreat at Kelham Theological College near Newark, Nottinghamshire. His friendship with George Bell, who had become Bishop of Chichester after holding the deanship of Canterbury, was to have momentous consequences.
Leo Ward's attempt in The Criterion to prove Maurras anti-Christian elicits textual correction from Eliot in support of his affirmation that he had studied Maurras for eighteen years and found just the opposite. Eliot believed that, with the expansion of the electorate, the value of the individual vote was diminishing, and that, as democratic government declined, the power of a few politicians, or financial groups, or the Civil Service, grew; as religion receded, the populace turned their religious feelings more and more into politics .
A T. S. Eliot Companion: Life and Works by F. B. Pinion